Let’s explore 10 of the best social media marketing books. They cover essential topics, including: how to build initial momentum, how to create viral content, how to attract loyal followers, how to influence people, and how to build trust and authority.
This list is for entrepreneurs, social media marketers, brand communicators, creators, or anyone else interested in social media. Whether your goal is to promote an existing business or attract an audience to build a new business – these books can help.
1. Contagious by Jonah Berger
One of the most important factors for social media growth is word-of-mouth referral. For example, creating content that people are more likely to amplify through social sharing. This allows you to expand your immediate reach and helps to attract a larger audience over time.
This book covers the six principles of contagiousness. Six different ways to make products, services, or ideas more likely to spread. While the book often focuses on product examples, each principle can easily be applied to social media marketing.
2. Start With Why by Simon Sinek
There is a big difference between random followers and a highly engaged audience. If you want to connect with people on a deeper level, it’s important to communicate your ‘why’. That is, the deeper mission or purpose behind your social media efforts.
Many people get caught up in expressing ‘what’ they do, or ‘how’ they do it. But, as Simon explains, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it“. With this in mind, the book addresses how to clarify and communicate your ‘why’ more effectively.
3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries & Jack Trout
It’s often a challenge to stand out from the crowd on social media. Even if your content is unique relative to what others are doing, people may not identify or understand the differences. And this can make it very hard for you to attract an audience.
This book is all about making it easier for people to link your brand with a specific theme or topic. And ideally, positioning you as the leading option within that category. That way, whenever people think of the topic, they think of your brand.
While most of the examples in the book are dated at this point. And many are of large and established businesses. The core principles can easily be applied to social media marketing to give your brand a competitive advantage.
4. Break Through The Noise by Tim Staples & Josh Young
This is another great book on how to make highly sharable content. But this one is geared primarily towards video platforms. So it’s highly relevant if you’re using Facebook, IGTV, TikTok, or YouTube to publish short or long-form video.
The authors created an agency called Shareability, and are responsible for some of the most popular viral videos of all time. And not just any random videos, but intentional campaigns that were designed to promote products or brands while going viral.
So if you’re interested in creating brand building content that goes viral, this is the book for you. It covers 9 powerful rules for increasing the share-ability of content.
5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini
This book is a cult classic when it comes to persuasion. Which is ironic, because the author’s intent was to educate average consumers about these techniques, so they could avoid being influenced by them. Yet it’s wildly popular among salespeople, marketers, and others that want to be more persuasive.
A word of caution when reading this book. Many people make the mistake of abusing persuasion techniques. And that is one of the fastest ways to destroy brand reputation.
So, instead of looking to abuse the tactics, use the principles to avoid actions or situations that negatively affect your ability to influence others. And be sure to read the next book in this list to better understand the value of building and maintaining trust.
6. The Language of Trust by Michael Maslansky
Your brand is the single most valuable asset that you have. This applies to business brands, personal brands, and even your personal name. The credibility and trust that you develop over time can allow you to achieve remarkable things.
Unfortunately, people are becoming very skeptical today. They have been let down by institutions, governments, and big businesses. And as a result, in this age of social media, they are quick to assume an ulterior motive for any good that you do.
This book is all about how to communicate with people on their own terms. And it’s packed with practical tips on how to build and maintain trust with your audience. It’s an incredibly important message for anyone building a long-term business or brand.
7. This Is Marketing by Seth Godin
One of the biggest challenges with social media is generating early momentum. That’s because there is a lot of noise on the various social platforms. So it can be difficult to attract attention or to get people to care about what you’re doing.
This book is about how to create a movement. It can help you cut through the noise by identifying the ‘smallest viable market’ for your content. That is, a core audience that will benefit most from what you have created.
This is important, because such an audience is more likely to take a chance on something new. And by satisfying their needs, you can turn them into brand advocates. And their support, through word-of-mouth referral, can help you reach a larger audience.
8. YouTube Secrets by Sean Cannell and Benji Travis
There are many social video platforms today, including: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. So it can be tempting to repurpose the same content across all of the networks. But it’s important to recognize that YouTube is very unique.
While it does have a recommendation algorithm, and recently added a newsfeed, YouTube relies heavily on search. It’s the #2 search engine in the world next to Google. And many people discover its content by first initiating a search query.
So if you want to capitalize on the power of YouTube search, and some of its other unique features, this book can help. It’s the only book on this list that is platform specific, so I recommend you read it if YouTube is part of your social media marketing strategy.
9. Superfans by Pat Flynn
It’s tempting to obsess over vanity metrics like the number of followers, subscribers, or fans that you attract over time. However, not all followers are equal in terms of their interest or passion in what you do. Odds are that the overwhelming majority are only passively interested in your content.
This book is about how to stand out by attracting and nurturing super fans. The people that love what you’re doing. They engage with your content far more often and are more inclined to share your posts with other people.
10. Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller
Many social media brands become overly dependent on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or even TikTok. And when a platform changes its algorithm or redesigns part of the user experience, their ability to reach their fans or followers is greatly diminished.
So, as you begin to build momentum on social media, it’s important to develop your own digital assets. This includes things like a website, an email list, and email sequences. All of which can provide you with a more direct connection to your followers.
This book can help you build an effective sales funnel. It’s perfect if you want to collect email addresses to increase engagement with your audience. And it can unlock new opportunities by turning your social media presence into an independent brand.